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Thread: New here, and desperate

  1. #1

    Unhappy New here, and desperate

    Hi, this is my first time posting, though I have read many posts in the open forums. I apologize, this may be long and cover several issues I am having.

    I have a beautiful 20 month old little girl. And, I am about 13 weeks pregnant. My little one, "A" is a vigorous and frequent nurser still. Over the past five months for so, I have gone back and forth on trying to get her to cut down on her breastfeeding, only for my own sanity. I never really did anything or made a final decision because she seemed to need/want nursing so much and my attitude has always been "this time won't last forever...."

    However, for some reason in the past 3 months or so, she has taken to frequent night nursing. I literally can't take it anymore. Not only am I tired, but it is the nature of her night nursing that is driving me crazy. She just has a suck that is so uncomfortable for me now. I'm getting to where I can't stand the tugging. On top of that, she refuses to let go!! Ever! I wanted to address this even before I knew I was pregnant, but now being pregnant is adding to my stress as I picture future nights with a newborn and A just sucking the life out of me. (I know, I know, it is just how it feels sometimes)

    I have tried nearly every "gentle" technique in the book. Not only has nothing seemed to even have minimum success, but I feel like the more I try, the more she stubbornly hangs on. I have actually tried to have conversations with her during the day about giving up milk at night, and you should see her little face! She is broken hearted. And at night, we end up having tussles over her finally letting go, and she seems so betrayed, even though I tell her, "finish up so the milk can night night and be rested" I have repeated the need milk to rest, told her mommy needs to rest, etc. and we end up getting nowhere. I have offered other choices, (songs, snuggles, sippy cup of water) and we get nowhere. I try to let her nurse and then just pop her off after a bit, and she will literally grab my hand and "hand fight" with me to prevent me from doing it. One time, my hand just went up there, and she panicked, and grabbed my hand away. IT makes me feel so sad, because in the end, I don't feel I'm getting anywhere, and I think I am making our nursing relationship (and by extension our relationship in general) contentious. She is becoming very sensitive to it as well. This morning, her dad made an offhand comment, "gee, you are having a lot of milk this morning" and she covered her face with her hands and hung her head down! I'm so sad for her.

    Last month, I decided to see if I could just live with it, thinking you never know what the next month will bring, and while I think that decision works for her, I just don't think I can do it. The fact that she shows NO interest in even slowing down makes me panic. I don't like the mother I'm becoming in all of this. Yesterday, I snapped at her, "You can't have milk all the time". I feel so sad and desperate and don't feel like I have anyone to talk to about this. For everyone else, it is just, "Well, tell her no", but it isn't that easy. The only person I get a little bit of understanding support from is my mom, who nursed all us 5 kids 2 yrs.+., however, I don't think she understands how drained I feel because I don't think any of her kids nursed SO MUCH at this age.

    There are only two things I have not tried, one being having dad comfort her at night, because not only does he get up really early for work, but I don't see that working real well, and I would not be able to not go to her if she was asking for milk or mommy. The other thing I have left to try is to change the sleeping situation. A and I sleep on a futon on the floor and I was thinking of putting her to sleep there, then crawling up on a low mattress so we would each have our own space. Honestly, though, I think she will just wake up in the night and join me, but I am still willing to try that when we get the bedroom ready for it.

    On top of that, my doctors are telling me they want me to wean completely! I already tried to be honest with them and say that wasn't in my plan, but I think they will lay the pressure on as I get further along. I don't want to wean totally and that is that, but it is hard for me to go against medical advice. Plus, I keep thinking what if I do show signs of preterm labor or whatever at some point and must wean? Because based on how night weaning has been going...

    Anyway, sorry this is so long, but I ended up in tears last night and don't know what else to do. I feel better even just getting these feelings off my chest. Thank you to those who made it this far!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    hang in there mama!

    I think that the idea of changing your sleeping situation is a good one. Maybe if your lo can't smell mama she wont wake up. Also, having dad help for a while might be a wonderful thing. As more of a "transitional" stage, ya know? Have you read Dr. Gordon's method of night weaning? It sounds like if you night weaned you may end up having a wonderful nursing relationship during the day Here's Dr. Gordons method: Changing The Sleep Pattern In The Family Bed

    mother of 2 boys!

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    We successfully used Dr Gordon's method when my son was 16 months old and I was pregnant. Night-weaning gave me the strength and energy to continue nursing through my pregnancy. I will tell you, there were tears the first night, and the second night, and a little on the third night. But it wasn't hysterical freaking out tears it was "I really want what I'm used to getting it." It was almost a foot-stomping angry cry. I will say though, that if your daughter is cutting teeth, it might be hard. Instead of nursing I got up and walked and bounced and sang to him. By night three he got the point.

    Is there any reason the Drs are worried about pre-term labour? Did you have any history of that with your first child?
    Nursing the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

    Mama to Daniel (12/3/06) and Lucy Jane (8/28/08)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Good ole ATX y'all!

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    I don't have any sage advice or easy answers. I have never even nursed while pregnant before as all my pregnancies were spaced 4 years or more. I just wanted to give you a hug .

    My 20 month old still nurses all night too and I'm exhausted and NOT pregnant so I can only imagine how drained you feel. And my LO too is an avid nurser. If I want to do some breast massage during a nursing session he grabs my hand and pushes it away, and not gently I might add!

    I just feel so much for your LO "A". She is obviously feeling like you are pulling away and her reaction is to cling tighter to what she knows is safe and familiar. I'm sure it's because things are changing and that's hard for any of us at any age but must be harder for her age. She can't really understand it.

    Have you maybe tried to hold a transitional object while nursing ie: blanket, lovey, soft toy, doll etc? I have started to let DS2 hold a little stuffed elephant while we go to sleep and it has begun to help him settle down easier. I just started holding it while nursing (not putting any pressure on him to hold it) then he decided he wanted to and now it's becoming a comfot to him.

    I am hoping that at some point he will just use the elephant and go to sleep without nursing. I am tryinng to help him learn to comfort himself which is what your LO could maybe learn to do.

    And we put DS's crib right up against our bed without the front rail on (kind of like the arm's reach co-sleeper which we have used too) and at night after nursing I roll him into it and he sleeps in there until he wakes up 4 or so hours later when he comes into my bed to nurse again. But 4 hours is a lot longer than he used to go before I started to put him in there so it makes me think that some how being even a little away from me, maybe from my tossing or bumping or whatever, helps him to sleep better and longer.

    I know it's not a quick fix but it might help. In the meantime hang in there. Can you get a break, hire a babysitter, get DH to babysit A so that you can regularly step out of the chaos? Even if you just go to the library or book store with a snack and a good book. I find I'm a whole new mommy when I get to do things like that.
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and

    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    It is SO HARD. It took a long time, and DS had some rough nights when we needed to cut down nursing at night. Then the molars started popping through, and I felt he needed to nurse. Now my DS is about 19.5 months (molars in), and he wakes occasionally at night, but recently I decided that even if he wakes, I am not going to nurse him. I am also newly pregnant - perhaps 8 weeks - and I get exhausted and snappy. It sounds like you have tried something similar, but this is where we are at. Last night DS slept through 10 hours so I didn't have to do anything. Sometimes DH goes in - you are right, this can be rough at first, but it gets better. Sometimes I go in. I tell DS that we can snuggle, but we are all done with milk (he protests). I tell him I will sing baa baa black sheep (one of his faves) a few times and snuggle, and then it's time to go to sleep because mommy and daddy are sleeping and the milk is sleeping. I give him a little modicum of control as to how many times he wants to hear baa baa (within reason). I think he feels better if he gets to kind of "decide" when he is ready to go back in his crib. This takes MUCH less time than an night nursing session! Sometimes at his before bed nursing when he is just kind of comfort nursing I will tell him we are almost done, and I will count to 3 a few times, to prepare him, and let him switch breasts for another count of 3 or so, and then he will go to bed without a struggle. Since this age they can understand so much more, it's a little easier to "reason" with them, even if they protest at first. Now, we don't co-sleep anymore, but when we did, he would stir and nurse a LOT more - he still does if we co-sleep in an unfamiliar setting. So it's possible it might help to transition your LO into her own sleeping space - but that's up to you. That's another tough transition. There will be tears, and it's really OK. If you stick with something consistently, whatever you decide to do, it WILL get better. But I think nightweaning will do you a world of good.
    Last edited by @llli*dreame; August 16th, 2009 at 08:37 PM.
    Mama to William James born January 2nd, 2008
    Nursed 2 years, 2 months! and I think we're done!
    And our new Lucy Jane born March 30th, 2010, 7 lb. 4 oz., 20.5 inches

    Pro-breastfeeding quotes:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    The only way I was able to stop my DS from night nursing was to have him sleep in own bed/room and send my husband in there if he got up and wouldn't go back down. That was at 15 months. It was a transition that took about 2 weeks, but was WELL worth it.

    I would assume your DD is asking to nurse more because she's teething. Once she's all done she will be a lot easier to nightwean as well. You should be getting over the worst part of the pain as well with the pregnancy.

    I'm sorry that your OB is bugging you about nursing. Mine wasn't 'thrilled' but didn't think it would cause any complications to the pregnancy. Honestly the worst part is the stress and pain on the pregnant nursing mother, it only causes mild and harmless uterine contractions.

    Keep us posted!

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    I also used the Dr. Gordon method to nightwean when I was pregnant and my daughter was about 19 mos old. I highly recommend it.

    I also am curious why your doctor wants you to wean completely? Did they give you a reason?
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    Your situation sounds really heartbreaking, Mama. Is it possible that your LO is night-nursing so much because she has teeth coming in? When my DD got her 2-year molars, her nursing frequency and her night-waking both increased.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*norasmommy View Post
    I also used the Dr. Gordon method to nightwean when I was pregnant and my daughter was about 19 mos old. I highly recommend it.
    I used a similar method when my DD was around 10.5 months old, and had great success weaning her from 5-6 feeds per night to just 1. When I finally weaned my DD from the last feeding, at age 2, one thing I found really useful was a sippy cup of water. Sometimes when she woke in the night she was genuinely thirsty.

    I also am curious why your doctor wants you to wean completely? Did they give you a reason?
    with this question. Unless you have a history of miscarriage or preterm labor, or some other problem that poses an inherent risk to the pregnancy, my understanding is that there's no need to wean your older baby. Some docs will say that nursing a toddler will "steal" nutrients from the fetus, or that nipple stimulation from a nursing toddler will cause early labor. Both are misapprehensions- your body will discontinue milk production before restricting nutrients to the developing baby, and toddler nursing, even when frequent, isn't enough stimulation to push you into labor (unless, as stated above, you have some underlying issue that puts you at risk).

  9. #9

    Default Re: New here, and desperate

    Thank you ladies, for your advice and understanding. I think I will try to change the sleeping situation, (I need to get a separate bed in there for me) and then I will give it another go. I also like using a "lovey" for now, and seeing if she can use that to comfort sometimes. I would love to try Dad comforting her in the night instead of me, but like I said, I think it just makes my stomach twist a bit when I think of her "asking" for me and me not coming, even though Dad is a perfectly good comforter/substitute. Also, I don't know how I would work out the logistics to that, since she and I sleep in the same room, and I am not ready to give that up.

    It is funny that some of you mention teething because both and hubby and I noticed she has been sticking her fingers in her mouth a lot lately. The other thing that has been going on maybe a week or so, is that she seems to be eating A LOT more. So maybe it is a combo teething/growth spurt and all will work itself out? (A mom can hope, right?)

    I have to say, I think just posting and reading supportive replies helped me. The last few nights have not been so bad, and she seems more willing to accept, "just a few sips so the milk can go night-night". I think maybe the fact that I had a more willing attitude helped. I'm sure she had been picking up on the fact that I was annoyed. So, thank you again for helping me take a deep breath and step back from the tension.

    To answer the questions about my doctor wanting me to wean, well, that is one reason I think it irritates me so much. It has nothing to do with me individually or my pregnancy individually, that is just their standard reccomendation. I do have a complicated pregnancy history. My firstborn, my son, was stillborn at 34 weeks. However, they had to work quite hard to get my body to go into labor with him, I was not having contractions/or the slightest bit dilated. They never found an officially cause of death, and many doctors treated it very casually, "oh just one of those things". After him, I had a very early miscarriage. Again, treated as "one of those things, don't worry go ahead and get pregnant again." I also have an autoimmune disorder with symptoms like arthritis, but not arthritis officially. However, in my opinion, none of these things relates to the reasons they want me to stop, which they told me are the nutrient reasons, and the preterm labor reasons. From the research I have been doing, these "reasons" don't really have good scientific backing. One thing I am keeping my eye on is my weight since I have lost weight this first trimester. Not totally unusual for me since I have trouble eating in the first 3 months. Also, I am not underweight. But, it is something I will keep my eye on as I enter the second trimester. I hate that they want me to wean and are so "sure" I should even though I let them know I did not agree. At my last appointment, the nurse midwife was asking me about it, and I admit I did hedge, just sort of making it sound like I was working on it. She proceeded to irritate me more by giving me this "talk" about how it was sometimes harder on mom than child and that, "they really needed to wean anyway". Whatever. I don't know what I am going to do as my pregnancy continues. Changing doctors isn't really an option I have.

    Anyway, thank you again for listening and advising. I'm sure this isn't the last you will hearing from me!

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